BREAKERZ - X
Rhythm section speed-dating.
In much the same way The Rolling Stones haven’t had an official bassist since 1993, Japan’s rock scene is replete with bands with incomplete line-ups. For some, it’s for sentimental reasons, like when Malice Mizer didn’t replace their late drummer Kami in 1999. For others, it’s happenstance, such as college bands who’re just starting out. Meanwhile, some acts simply never had a full line-up to begin with.
BREAKERZ, for instance, are a thoroughly ordinary rock band in every respect other than never having had a full-time rhythm section. Since 2007, it’s remained a trio comprised of frontman DAIGO plus guitarists AKIHIDE and SHINPEI. This appears to have inspired a novel twist on the concept of the guest-laden big anniversary album, as the trio invited the bassists and drummers of GLAY, MY FIRST STORY and VAMPS to take part in recording X.
While arguably a musical equivalent of stunt-casting, it's also a savvy way for BREAKERZ to pack in some extra star power without drastically altering their sound. The results include the album’s catchiest song NEVER ENDING STORY – not a cover of Limahl’s 1984 classic - featuring MY FIRST STORY’s Nob and Kid’z. GREAT AMBITIOUS and GOD leave less of a lasting impression but provide solid bookends to what can be a patchy listening experience.
On the saner sides of things, ubiquitous rapper SKY-HI - a man who’s fast becoming Japan’s answer to Pitbull - chips in a fifteen-second verse on the synthed-up BLACK SKY. GRANRODEO guitarist e-ZUKA engages AKIHIDE and SHINPEI in a three-way solo battle on RODEO DRIVE, and Mai Kuraki provides airy backing vocals throughout the tranquil ballad Hirari mai chiruhana no you ni.
The appearance of Sho Kiryuin, the mastermind of ‘air band’ (and comedy dance troupe) Golden Bomber, on Golden Night ~Ogonshoku ni dakishimete~ marks the point where X goes off-piste. There’s nothing untoward about the electro-rock number until Kiryuin cuts in with a jazzy vibraphone-laced interlude. A giddily upbeat sugar rush with boyband BULLET TRAIN follows, and then DAIGO goes it alone with a fairground organ on Triangle, only to be interrupted midway by a conversation between the members of Trignal.
While these zanier collaborations may make X a less-than-ideal introduction to BREAKERZ’s wider discography, tracks like NEVER ENDING STORY and the guestless She Is Devil are worthy additions to any J-rock playlist. Furthermore, oddities like Golden Night ~Ogonshoku ni dakishimete~ can’t be said to be entirely out-of-character for the trio since they pitched the musical curveballs BAMBINO and LOVE FIGHTER ~Koi no Battle~ on 2009’s FIGHTERZ.
|New Collaboration Album from HOTEI|
|First Album from Yaffle|
|WagakkiBand Releases New Digital Single Featuring Amy Lee|
|New Girl Group: MANACLE|
|Hololive English VTuber Mori Calliope Releases Debut EP|
|FEMM Features on Duke of Harajuku's First Album|
|MUCC to Live Stream No-Audience Concert Worldwide|
|BAKU Collaborates with Jin Dogg, Members of Nunchaku and Tomy Wealth for VIDEOPHOBIA Ending Theme|